Cleanliness has become an obsession. We want to rub everything until it shines and smells like lemon and lavender. But what if this desire for cleanliness is harmful?
Keeping our bodies clean is essential for good health. We know that washing our hands regularly can help protect us from germs that can get into our bodies and make us sick. However, there is a thin line between healthy body care and habits that are detrimental to our health.
Benefits of a small dirt
Exposing children to the environment has benefits. When children come into contact with a little dirt and bacteria, their immune system is challenged and subsequently strengthened.
The immune system has to be exercised to grow stronger and more effective. If we constantly cleanse our environment from every dirt, we steal from our children opportunities to develop immunity. Studies continually show that children exposed to dirt have immune systems that are stronger and better able to fight against the strongest germs in the future.
Problems with cleaning products
On the other hand, when we clean incessantly, we are also exposing our children to hazardous chemicals in the products we use. Cleaning products, unless generated from natural ingredients, contain chlorine, lye, ammonia, fragrance (containing dozens of chemicals) and many ingredients that are obtained from oil and coal tar. Most of these chemicals are poisonous if swallowed.
So if these products are toxic when ingested, would they not be equally toxic if they are inhaled day after day? Many people do not make this connection, but it is true that they can degrade our health, especially for small people who like to hang out on the floor.
What about antibacterial products?
In an effort to keep your children away from germs, many parents remove the anti-bacterial lotions after each contact with the public areas. The idea is to kill any bacteria before it enters your child's body and causes harm. However, antibacterial products in general contain a chemical called triclosan that can cause liver damage and has even been implicated in cancer. The widespread use of triclosn also leads to antibacterial resistance, a serious problem if we want to be able to kill bacteria when we really need it. So, you may be trading in a problem for a much bigger one in the future.
It is important to understand that antibacterial, including antibiotics, will reduce our own number of good bacteria. These good bacteria that we have understand a large part of our immune system, some say up to 80%. With decreased levels of healthy bacteria, children are more likely to develop allergies, asthma, and a number of other illnesses. Therefore, it is important to preserve these bacteria if we want to improve the immunity of our children.
Many children have a bedtime routine that includes a bathroom. However, this can also be a problem, as a constant bath can strip the skin of its natural oils. This can cause problems such as dryness and even eczema. Add to this the avalanche of Bath products that most families use (bubble bath, shampoo, conditioner, etc.) and have another massive exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
Parents can use common sense when it comes to their children's bathing needs. If your child is dirty, give them a bath. But you might want to wonder if you really need to bathe them every day if they're not really dirty.
When it comes to the health of children, it is smarter to take the middle road as far as cleanliness is concerned. Too much can lessen the ability of your body to develop a healthy and strong immune system, while very little can expose them to the disease. Good hygiene, such as hand washing, should be encouraged. However, in most cases, a natural soap is a better choice than the elegant antibacterial options that abound.